Image: ©GR

Vitamin D and the prevention of COVID-19 and acute respiratory infections

Vitamin D plays a role in the proper functioning of the immune system. The State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) has asked the Health Council of the Netherlands to urgently issue advice on the possible role of vitamin D in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Netherlands, a number of groups are already advised to take vitamin D supplements, particularly for good bone health. The council considered whether the science gives reason to advise other groups to take additional vitamin D for the prevention of COVID-19.

This is not the case. Too little research of sufficient quality is available on vitamin D and the prevention of COVID-19. The Health Council also sees insufficient reason to modify the existing vitamin D supplementation advice in the research on vitamin D and the prevention of other acute respiratory infections – which could serve as indirect evidence of a possible effect on the prevention of COVID-19.

However, the Health Council notes that for good bone health it is important that the groups advised to take vitamin D supplements indeed follow this advice. This includes children up to 4 years of age, people who do not produce enough vitamin D in their skin because they get little sunlight or have dark skin, pregnant women, women aged 50 and older and men aged 70 and older.